OSHA Lookback Review: Lead in Construction Still a Problem

OSHA announced the outcome of its Lead in Construction Standard lookback review in yesterday's Federal Register, and Assistant Secretary of Labor Edwin G. Foulke Jr. said employers and employees in the construction industry stand to benefit from the results. "Certain construction jobs still experience high levels of airborne lead, and the retention of this Standard is necessary to ensure employees are protected from high lead exposure," Foulke said.

OSHA's Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis conducts retrospective reviews of final standards and regulations in accordance with the regulatory review provisions of Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and Section 5 of Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review (58 FR 51735, 51739, October 4, 1993). These retrospective reviews are more commonly referred to as "lookback," or Section 610, reviews.

The goal of the Lead in Construction Standard is to protect construction employees from lead-related health effects. OSHA estimates that in 2003, 649,000 employees were exposed to lead at levels that may trigger application of the standard. OSHA regularly enforces the lead standard (29 CFR 1926.62) in the construction industry. Between 1993 and 2003, federal OSHA and state-plan states conducted 4,834 inspections and issued 12,556 citations.

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